Friday, August 21, 2009

Nnnng... ungh... gahhahng... BRAINS!

(Finnish road sign -- needs no translation)

Are you prepared? The scientists are taking this very seriously, y'all. Don't believe me? Go read the mathematical modelling of of an outbreak of zombie infection.

Oh, what? I can't write about writing every day, can I?

Fine, here's a writing update... I called the "caller ID agent" back. Short version: another rejection. Long version: I had called the agency on Monday to check on the status of my queries, we chatted briefly, and I resent the query again. She then called back because she wasn't sure if her reply to my most recent query had gone through (it hadn't). Apparently my first two queries -- sent 16 and 8 weeks ago, respectively -- never arrived, but the query I sent on Monday to her personal email instead of the general submissions email got there fine. But then her reply never made it back. Ah, better living through technology! (Apparently my ninja manuscript has been giving stealth lessons to my query letters, and is now messing with my email settings. ARGH!)

She said that she probably would have asked to see pages if my book was longer -- my word count is indeed below the generally-accepted "sweet spot" of 80K-100K -- or if the story had grabbed her just a little bit more. She said I should "absolutely, please do" submit to her again in the future, so I'm going to put this rejection in the "personal/positive rejection" category, because agents do not encourage more queries unless they like something about what you've written. (Sure, sometimes a form letter will say "keep writing and submitting," but that can mean "you need more practice, and you should submit to someone else.")

Oh, and if all the remaining agents say no to me, maybe I'll add 20K words and ask if she'd be interested in seeing a revised and updated version. And I'll fax it.

In the meantime, be vigilant.

(Happy Friday, everyone!)


  1. Funny about the ZOmbie's. There just everywhere aren't they??? I've never called an agent before so I give you kudos. Don't worry there are plenty of gate keepers in the sea. ;)

  2. That sounds like an incredibly encouraging rejection. It's like a pat on the back! And sometimes that's just what we need! Have a great weekend!

  3. Wow Carrie! Out of curiosity, how long IS your book?

  4. I've gotten two rejections in the last two days. Two fulls, too. "Not commerical enough, but send something else if it's more commercial." I saw over at Moonie's your comment about Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Never noticed that missing hyphen!! Fantastic book.

  5. Aw, Caroline, I'm sorry, that stinks! Nice that you got multiple requests for fulls, but rotten that you're getting dinged on what sounds like a genre/marketing issue. How many books are "not commercial" until they become bestsellers, I wonder?

    Sierra, my novel is either 60K or 68K words, depending on which word count method you use.

  6. Sorry about the rejection, but at least it's an uplifting one (oxymoron?). I've gotten one personalized rejection on a full and I count it as a victory.

  7. Sorry it was not good news. I feel like I need to run and hide now...Paraguayan zombies would be too scary to imagine!!!

  8. Well as far as rejections go that was a good one. I wish it had been an acceptance for you. And I hope your email decided to behave and play the game properly. How very frustrating!

  9. I quite enjoy your blog. And it seems to me you've got plenty of "sass" to get published and frequently. Seem pretty prolific too. Great marketer. Aren't all these things what they call, a winning combination?

    Either way, looking forward to the next installment. And was your ninja manuscript just sneaky or was it really a "ninja" manuscript? I hope the latter. I haven't read many (any?) good ninja stories. I'd sure read yours. Just saying.

  10. BJW, you and my husband would get along just fine. He keeps asking why I would write a book that was completely devoid of ninjas, zombies, and/or car chases. I have to add "ninja lit" to my to-do list...

    And now, I should probably get off the internet and go try to be more prolific (only one novel so far, so I'm not there yet, not by a long shot...)

    Thanks for the encouragement and flattery, everyone!

  11. My first guess on the Finnish road sign was, "Beware of Thing from the Addam's Family."

    Here's my dumb question of the day, Carrie. (Feel free to shout at me if it helps relieve the frustration.) Can you find enough relevant subplot to make an extra 20K? If so, why wouldn't you do it right now?

  12. That was a very nice agent. It sounds like quite a positive experience. I never had a rejection as good as that.

    And I hate the unreliable e-mail. What's wrong with this technology these days?

  13. I'm sorry about the rejection, but what a nice agent! Awesome. :-) Definitely a positive rejection.

    As for e-mail, blech. It makes me so paranoid, that's why I really like the agencies who send out a confirmation when your query arrives.

    Good luck with your other queries! And go you for resubbing and double checking. :-)

  14. Gary, it's a fair question. Mostly I don't want to add 20K to the novel because the story feels right to me where it is. I could probably add to it, but on the flip side of your question, if I've found 10 agents who want to read a partial or full, why wouldn't I try to get someone to take the project as-is?

    Overall, opinion seems to be mixed on the length issue. Although most agents seem to agree that 125K+ is too long, not everyone thinks that 60K is too short. My initial research when editing this book lead me to believe that 60K was the lower end of a marketable novel-length work, but marketable nevertheless. Some agents think that a novel below 90K is likely to feel incomplete, whereas other agents/editors say that they're looking for shorter works (60-70K) to save on publishing costs.

    Readers of Elizabeth Berg's bestsellers, which tend to run between 45K-55K, would probably agree with me that a story CAN feel complete and rich at a shorter length. The book feels right to me where it is, and I don't want to add "filler" unless I absolutely have to.